Case Studies Diagnostic Procedures Patents Washington University Institute of Clinical & Translational Sciences

Specific Non-Invasive Diagnosis of Kidney Cancer

Specific Non-Invasive Diagnosis of Kidney Cancer

The Specific Non-Invasive Diagnosis of Kidney Cancer study explores urine biomarkers for detecting kidney cancer. Jeremiah J. Morrissey, PhD, received ICTS pilot funding in 2009 and 2011 to study urine biomarkers. The goals of this study were to establish the ability of markers in urine and blood to diagnose kidney cancer, differentiate kidney cancers from other cancers of the urinary tract or common non-cancerous kidney diseases, and monitor for recurrence and the effectiveness of chemotherapy in patients with metastatic disease.

Dr. Morrissey reported that the findings from the study validated the clinical utility of the urine biomarkers for screening of renal cell carcinoma.1,2 His team is currently investigating several noninvasive screening test applications for detecting kidney cancer at early, more treatable stages before patients have symptoms. The study is noteworthy, as there is currently no method for early detection of kidney cancer, nor are there methods of surveillance of recurrence or testing of response to chemotherapy. These challenges are important to overcome because kidney cancer is difficult to treat unless caught early and is known to be resistant to chemotherapy and radiation.

Research Team

Research Team

Jeremiah J. Morrissey, PhD & Evan D. Kharasch, MD, PhD,
Department of Anesthesiology

Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis


Early screening test for kidney cancer studies are in process.

Patent application enhances the chance of potential commercialization of the test.

Early benefits of the Kidney Cancer study have been observed in two of the four TSBM domains. In the Clinical & Medical benefits domain, studies for the development of screening assays for early detection of kidney cancer are in process. Development of promising and affordable applications for early detection is expected to provide several benefits: reduced mortality rate, less invasive treatment, and preservation of renal function. Early detection methods for kidney cancer can be incorporated into everyday medical practice and provide significant benefits to societal health.

In the Economic benefits domain, a patent for methods to detect and diagnose renal cancer using biomarkers has been granted and is available for licensing.3 


  1. Morrissey, J.J. & Kharasch, E.D. The specificity of urinary Aquaporin-1 and Perilipin-2 to screen for renal cell carcinoma. J. Urol. 189, 1913–1920 (2013).
  2. Morrissey, J.J. et al. Evaluation of urine Aquaporin-1 and Perilipin-2 concentrations as biomarkers to screen for renal cell carcinoma: A prospective cohort study. JAMA Oncol. 1, 204–212 (2015).
  3. Kharasch, E. D. & Morrissey, J. J., inventors; Washington University, assignee. Methods of renal cancer development. United States patent US 9,091,690. (2015).

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